The Practice Notebook

flutist Zara Lawler shares tips on learning music

The Value of Struggle


There was a very interesting story on NPR this morning about how different cultures view the value of struggle in the learning process. Although it did not mention music learning, I think the parallels are clear. Check it out here, and let me know what you think!



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2 Comments to

“The Value of Struggle”

  1. On September 6th, 2013 at 12:12 pm Janel Caine Says:

    This was an awesome article to read; so full of truths! Absolutely, in America, at least, we really emphasize the obvious smarts or talents, while struggle is downplayed. Just listen to any NPR commentator about a particular performer. Rarely do we hear much of anything about the work it took for a performer to make it to a particular competition or career accomplishment. Instead, we hear an emphasis on how YOUNG the performer is and the outright or implied statements about the musician being a PRODIGY. (Tho’ when it comes to athletes, the media LOVES to milk the sob stories during the Olympics!)

    In my teaching, I really believe students with less talent can often surpass those with obvious talent through enough hard work. I also believe, many talented people lose out on accomplishing things because they don’t sruggle. This may be demonstrated in doing only what comes so easily and not much more, or in not applying oneself to true excellance or growth, taking things for granted.

    In the end, it’s a balance of both talent and work. Both sides of the ocean would benefit by incorporating both. Musicians would especially be better off with the change of attitude.

    Thanks for sharing this thought provoking article!

  2. On October 25th, 2013 at 2:46 pm zara Says:

    Thanks for this comment, Janel. I’ll be posting your memorization question soon.

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